Teachers Lesson Plans

Cityscapes

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Adrien Hébert, Montreal Harbour, c. 1927- 30 and Jack Humphrey, Window on Orange Street, c. 1932

Adrien Hébert and Jack Humphrey created two different representations of the city but use similar pictorial composition. Hébert paints the Port of Montreal while Humphrey paints a poor street in the city of Saint John. In the foreground of both paintings is a diagonal line from which the two artists create their middle-distance and background. The middle-distance in each picture is comprised of different elements, but the pictorial composition is fairly similar. In Humphrey's work, the rectangular building walls and windows provide a choppy rhythm.

In Hébert's work, it is the diagonal lines formed by the walkways that give rhythm to the composition. In both cases, these lines draw our attention to a specific area in the picture. In Hébert's picture, the diagonal lines draw us to a sort of dust or brownish smoke that blocks the space and turns our focus back to the foreground, while in Humphrey's work, the broken rhythm of the rectangles leads us all the way to a corner of grey sky in the background.